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How North Carolina courts determine alimony

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2023 | Divorce, Family Law

North Carolina couples will have many issues to sift through as they seek to end their marriage and move forward with a divorce. Financially, alimony can be severely contentious as people strive to move on.

There are specific factors that are assessed when the alimony determination is made. This is often viewed from the perspective of the person who is set to receive these payments, but it is also crucial for the person making the payments to reach a fair outcome. From the outset, both sides should know what to expect, whether it is preferable to negotiate a settlement and what is involved in calculating the amount.

Alimony factors

Whether it is a low-earning couple, those in the middle or people who have substantial income and assets, there are specific fundamentals with alimony under the law. The former spouse who was the dependent can request and receive alimony. The court will decide if alimony is warranted, how much it will be and how long it will last.

The court will want to know details of the marriage before making the award and determining its amount and duration. For example, if there was marital misconduct, this can be a mitigating factor. Either or both sides could have committed the misconduct such as adultery.

As with any financial consideration, the amount the couple earned and what they are capable of earning will be assessed. Their conditions will be analyzed including their ages and their mental, physical and emotional fitness. The length of the marriage is key. A longer marriage and an older couple will likely mean that the person receiving the alimony will be limited in their opportunities to self-support. That will mean they need alimony to meet their needs.

In some marriages, one person helped support the other as they built a business, received an education or got training. They will need to be covered after the divorce to account for that. If there were assets and liabilities, a contribution by one person as a homemaker, and property they brought into the marriage or accrued after the marriage, it will be weighed when making the alimony determination.

It is important to be prepared for all family law issues

The objective with alimony is to achieve fairness. That comes in many forms and every situation is different. Whether it is a high-conflict case with people in seemingly endless dispute or a relative amicable parting, it is imperative to be ready for the case. That includes understanding all aspects of alimony and other areas of family law.